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Oilers-Canadiens Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Oilers-Canadiens Preview
Edmonton Oilers vs. Montréal Canadiens

The Edmonton Oilers haven't struggled much during their solid start, though most of their lapses have come away from home.

In the midst of a six-game road trip and coming off its first loss in over a week, Edmonton looks to get back on track Tuesday night against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Oilers (8-3-2) have been the surprise of the young season, recently putting together a six-game winning streak which ended Saturday with a 4-2 loss at Phoenix.

Three of their five losses have come on the road, scoring two goals or less in each defeat. Rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the No. 1 overall pick, scored Saturday to give him team-high-tying marks of six goals and 12 points as Edmonton couldn't overcome a two-goal, first-period deficit.

The Oilers hope to bounce back against the Canadiens, whom they've beaten in three of the last four meetings. They won the most recent matchup in Montreal 4-3 in overtime Dec. 1 and have earned at least one point in the last five games there (2-0-3).

"It will be a real good test for all of us - and certainly the young fellas - to play in that environment," coach Tom Renney told his team's official website. "We've just got to know that we have to play 60 minutes. Going into Montreal - a real loud building - we just have to have a good start and play a full 60 minutes."

Ryan Smyth, who shares the team points lead with Nugent-Hopkins, has five points in his last five games versus the Canadiens, while Nikolai Khabibulin is 5-1-0 with a 1.39 goals-against average in his last seven appearances against them.

He made 36 saves in a 4-1 win Feb. 17 in the most recent meeting versus Montreal, which also had its winning streak snapped Saturday.

The Canadiens (5-6-2) lost for the first time in five games, falling 5-3 to the New York Rangers after allowing nine power-play chances. Though the opposition has converted just once in 15 tries with the man advantage over the last three games, Montreal is stressing the need to cut down its short-handed time.

"We've got to focus on doing our jobs and staying out of the box and get that rhythm going," defenseman Hal Gill said. "I think we have a good team when we roll some lines and get guys involved."

Max Pacioretty and Andrei Kostitsyn scored Saturday and share the team lead with five goals, while Thomas Plekanec assisted on each of Montreal's tallies.

Captain Brian Gionta added a goal and an assist, and he said the mood in the locker room is still positive despite the winning streak coming to an end.

"The biggest thing is to not get too high or too low," Gionta said. "We were playing good hockey the last week and a half. We have to make sure to draw the positives and not the negatives."

Carey Price allowed five goals during the winning streak but gave up four Saturday, giving him a 2.58 GAA. He's struggled against Edmonton, going 1-3-1 with a 3.97 GAA in five starts.

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 08 '12 MTL 5 at EDM 3 L. Eller
Nov 08 '11 EDM 3 at MTL 1 T. Gilbert
R. Smyth147714+42712
R. Nugent-Hopkins146612+3621
J. Eberle143811+3012
T. Hall13369+31021
S. Horcoff14268+2010
C. Potter12268+2210
R. Jones14336+2400
T. Gilbert14235+0211
L. Petrell13112+0200
S. Gagner8022+1200
A. Hemsky3022+2000
C. Barker11101+31210
T. Peckham10101+21500
A. Sutton10101+03101
E. Belanger14011+11000
A. Lander14011-1400
M. Paajarvi13011+0000
B. Eager11011+02300
J. Petry7011+4200
C. Teubert2011+1000
A. Plante1011+1000
L. Smid14000+21200
L. Omark5000-2200
R. Whitney4000+0000
D. Hordichuk3000+0000
N. Khabibulin97-0-292470.98.964
D. Dubnyk52-3-0111582.19.930
T. Plekanec144913-11012
M. Pacioretty146511+1800
A. Kostitsyn13549+1612
B. Gionta14358+11210
D. Desharnais14268-3611
M. Cammalleri11347-5000
T. Moen14426+42200
J. Gorges14066+61000
E. Cole14325-4610
Y. Weber14235+2820
L. Eller12134+3600
P. Subban14044-42500
R. Diaz14123-3600
J. Spacek9033+3000
M. Darche14101-1200
H. Gill14011-21000
P. Nokelainen12011-21700
S. Gomez6011-1400
A. Engqvist7000+1200
M. Blunden7000-1700
A. Emelin7000-2200
A. Palushaj4000+0000
C. Campoli1000+0000
C. Price135-6-2333362.54.902
P. Budaj10-1-02312.03.935